I had to turn the furnace on yesterday… in August! Yikes. Last year August got damp too. And it has been raining quite a bit this year. Definitely feels like Fall is here even though there is still a month of Summer left.
They are cute, but these pattypans aka sunburst squash are plentiful right now, and best to use them when still fresh!
I had a package of ground bison thawing in the fridge so when I got home tonight I decided the two could go together to make a nice meal. I hadn’t intended it to be soup to start with but part way through decided to add some homemade stock and other things.
I am allergic to beef so I use ground bison (which is extremely lean) or pork or lamb when I want ground meat. I watch for the 50% off stickers at the store and grab the bison and lamb when it is marked down and freeze it. It is pretty expensive otherwise.
I just grab things and toss them into the pot. No measuring. Aside from the squash – I had five of them – I had fresh onions, green onions, green pepper and in the freezer diced celery and homemade stock. And a can of diced tomatoes from the pantry. I also used my homemade taco seasoning mix.
Soup is a great way to use up vegetables that are left over or getting a little limp, or just stuff that you need to use before it is time to throw it out. The green onions were pretty dead looking that I used.
The celery in the freezer was the diced scraps from cleaning stalks of celery – the leafy ends and centres that weren’t “stick” material for my munching. I have bags of it in there! I put it in soups, stews, casseroles, in the bottom of the roaster to set the meat on, etc.
I also freeze chicken carcasses and bones from roasts and steaks – I just keep adding to a large Ziploc freezer bag. When I have a substantial amount I roast them until they are well-browned (much better flavour that way!) and make stock in my crock pot to freeze.
I used my dutch oven for this soup but you could do it in a crock pot if you wanted. I browned the bison in some peanut oil, then added the chopped onions, green onions, green peppers and the frozen celery and let them sweat down a bit. Then added the cubed squash. Even though the squash were still fairly small I needed to remove the seeds before cutting them up.
I stirred it a few times and once the squash was starting cook I added about three to four tablespoons (well, I dumped about a third of what was left in the bottle in actually) of my taco seasoning mix. Then I added a 12-ounce can of diced tomatoes and approximately two cups of stock (I’m guessing – it was a frozen container that could have been three cups.)
Once the pot was starting to boil, I put the lid on and put in the oven at 350F for about an hour and a half.
I find finishing soups in the oven works really well, and you don’t end up with a splattered stove top.
It turned out great! A bit spicier than I was expecting due the amount of the taco mix I’d added, but still excellent. I am developing a taste for spicier things lately.
Eat it as is, or garnish with cheese, sour cream, guacamole, etc. I added shredded cabbage to the bowl and put the soup on top! It was very good that way. I’m all about getting in as many vegetables as I can in a meal.
The rest will be frozen in serving sizes for quick meals. I like having things ready to grab and heat once theatre season starts – which is in less than a month – as I don’t have much of a break between work and call times.
I make my own spice mixes – that way I know I am only getting what I want in them. Commercial taco seasoning mixes usually contain flour or cornflour and sugar in some form – so I don’t use them.
Shannon’s Taco Seasoning
I make big batches (this makes around 2 cups) and store in recycled spice jars – those industrial sized ones from Costco. It keeps a very long time.
1/2 cup of chilli powder
1/3 cup of dried minced onion OR you can use 2 tablespoons of onion powder instead
2 tablespoons of garlic powder
2 tablespoons of salt (your choice – table salt, sea salt, etc.)
1.5 tablespoons of ground cumin
1.5 tablespoons of dried oregano
1 tablespoon of cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons of ground coriander
Combine all of the ingredients either directly into your storage container, or in a bowl. Shake or mix well. Put in sealed container and store with your spices in a cool, dry, dark place.